THREE ROTTEN EGGS by Gregory Maguire


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Age Range: 9 - 13
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Genetically engineered chicken eggs provide the narrative motor for this, the fifth, entry in the “Hamlet Chronicles,” as Miss Earth’s fifth-grade class lurches into spring. The eggs in question, stolen by an activist group from a lab outside of Boston, arrive in town on the same day as Thaddeus “Thud” Tweed, a student who challenges even the saintly Miss Earth’s sense of equilibrium. “I’ve tried every kind of schooling for Thaddeus except prison,” his mother tells Miss Earth, “and I’d try that if he were old enough to qualify.” Thud rapidly upsets the delicate balance of power between the Copycats and the Tattletales, founding the Three Rotten Eggs with Salim Bannerjee and Lois Kennedy III, disaffected former members of the established clubs, when they discover three mysterious eggs during Hamlet’s annual Spring Egg Hunt. Tongue stuffed firmly in cheek, Maguire (Four Stupid Cupids, 2000, etc.) deftly weaves together the strands of his story, from the hapless Professor Einfinger’s odyssey through small-town Vermont to recover the eggs, to the hatching of the extraordinary chicks (christened “Flameburpers A, B, and C”), to a benefit concert given by the legendary Petunia Whiner (“Baby Needs Burping”), and on to the slow emergence of Thud’s better self as well as Salim’s and Lois’s explorations of the nature of friendship. The tone throughout is characteristically deadpan, the humor thoroughly sophisticated; after five installments one might think the formula would wear thin, but, the title notwithstanding, this offering maintains a quirky freshness that fans and new readers alike will welcome. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: March 18th, 2002
ISBN: 0-618-09655-8
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Clarion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2002


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